Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Communication and Storytelling Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Amber E. Kinser

Committee Members

Christine K. Anzur, Julia C. Dodd, Jennifer A. Adler


This study explores women’s experiences with infertility in Christian faith communities. Drawing from nine one-on-one interviews, the author argues that the presence of particular religious ideologies, social interactions, and rituals within faith communities contributed to the stigmatization and marginalization of study participants. Employing Muted Group Theory, the author uncovers the communicative strategies infertile women employ to resist these oppressive practices. A qualitative analysis of participants’ narratives presents two principal categories, containing a total of four findings relating to the harmful beliefs and practices of these women’s faith communities. The author argues that the veneration of motherhood and children suggests that infertile women inherently lack purpose and value and that the failure of Christian faith communities to provide safe environments for women without children exacerbates their isolation and grief. Action steps for Christian faith communities are recommended.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.